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January 7, 2020

Southern California house price gains pick up in November

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Southern California house prices perked up in November as homebuyers continue to react to lower mortgage rates, a new housing report shows.

The gains were strongest in the most affordable areas, with prices growing fastest in the lower-cost Inland Empire and slowest in high-cost Orange County, according to the CoreLogic Home Price Index, released Tuesday, Jan. 7.

Inland Empire house prices, for example, were up 3.7% in the year ending in November, compared with year-over-year gains of 2.9% in Los Angeles County and 1.7% in Orange County.

Orange County’s appreciation rate was the highest since January, while the Inland Empire’s and L.A. County’s appreciation rates were the highest since April and June.

While gains remain small compared with the previous seven years, index values – derived from price gains and losses since 1990 — have ratcheted up to all-time highs in L.A. and Orange counties.

Southern California house price gains pick up in November 1The index value for the inland counties of Riverside and San Bernardino, however, remain 9% below the peak hit during the height of the housing bubble in April 2006, CoreLogic figures show.

Prices nationwide rose 3.7% in the 12 months ending in November, and in California, they increased 2.4%, CoreLogic reported.

“The latest U.S. index shows that the slowdown in home prices we saw in early 2019 ended by late summer,” said CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft. “The decline in mortgage rates, down more than one percentage point for fixed-rate loans from November 2018, has supported a rise in sales activity and home prices.”

Similar trends were reflected in two earlier home price reports for November based on median home price changes.

However, like the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index, the CoreLogic HPI bases value gains on same-home comparisons, a method deemed more reliable because it limits the impact of sales gains by higher- or lower-cost homes.

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